Saturday, July 21, 2007

Naked Emperors

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Recently, one of my loyal readers took me to task in the letters column of this paper, on the grounds that, according to said reader, I "did not know how to write an argumentative essay."

May I gently suggest, my good friend, that you wait until I actually try to write an "argumentative essay" before you make that judgment?

I think some people mistake what I'm trying to do here. This isn't Freshman Composition. It's not Rhetoric 101. Nor is it a legal brief. (I get paid a heck of a lot more for those). This here is a newspaper column. And what I do was never intended to be scholarly and genteel argument.

I'm here to look around, find the stuff that's ridiculous, bring it back to hold up and show to you, and -- well, ridicule it. Sure, it's for laughs, but don't underestimate the power that laughter can have to change the world.

I think it was C.S. Lewis who once wrote, "The devil cannot abide to be mocked," and I try to make sure that I do a little savage mockery on a daily basis to keep the devil at bay. The guy in the fable that laughed at the emperor for having no clothes wasn't trying to "persuade" anyone. He was just pointing out an obvious fact: The king and his sycophants were a bunch of idiots. And let me tell you, when it comes to finding naked emperors, they're pretty thick on the ground these days.

Take, for instance, the recent crop of Republican candidates. A recent AP-Ipsos poll found that, among the current crop of contenders for King George's throne, the front runner, the clear leader of the pack was: none of the above. That's right, 23 percent of Republicans surveyed said they "can't or won't" identify the candidate they would back, a big jump up from June, where only 14 percent "took a pass," according to the AP.

Actually, that "can't or won't say" language jumped out at me. It seems to imply that some people actually did have someone in mind, but they were embarrassed to admit who. And when you look at some of the guys they have running, it's not hard to see why.

Rudy Giuliani, whose best news is that he's running a close second to "none of the above," is carrying more baggage than an entire regiment of bellboys. He has some serious marriage issues in his past, including ex-wife having to take out a restraining order to keep Rudy from moving his girlfriend into the mayoral mansion while he was still married.

He's also pro-choice and pro-gay rights, which are not bad things to sane people; unfortunately for Rudy, one of the major early primaries is in Bible Belt South Carolina. Rudy has about as much chance of making it out of that state intact as a 12-pack of beer on a frat boy's trip to Myrtle Beach.

Then in third place, you have Fred Thompson, who we can only pray doesn't want to do the same thing for the country that he did for "Law and Order." Thompson's not even officially running yet, and no one really knows where he stands on much of anything. So far his major claim to fame is that he's not Giuliani, McCain, or Romney.

But stories are already surfacing that Thompson, while working as a lobbyist in the early '90s, worked for a pro-choice group trying to get the first Bush administration to relax restrictions on doctors at federally funded clinics discussing abortion with patients. It remains to be seen whether Thompson will attempt to take a harder line on abortion to suck up to "social"conservatives.

In fourth, you have John McCain. John McCain is widely identified as the pro-war candidate. He is, therefore, toast.

Last and least comes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who just can't seem to get any traction. Perhaps the problem is the fact that he's reversed his positions on abortion and gay marriage so abruptly and so completely, it's a miracle he didn't rupture a cervical disc. One almost hopes to see Romney get the nod, just so we can see a horde of Democrats at their convention waving sandals in the air and shouting "Flip-Flop! Flip-Flop!"

So have I "persuaded" anyone not to vote for any of the current crop of Republican front-runners? Looks like I don't need to. They seem to be doing that job pretty well themselves.

No, it's shaping up as the Democrats' election to lose. Well, if anyone can figure out a way to lose this election to whichever of these contenders finally gets enough grudging votes to get the nomination, it'll be the Republican Lite wing of the Democratic Party, led by their own front runner, Hillary Clinton.

So fear not. The mockery will continue.


Josephine Damian said...

Errrr. JD? Have you seen Thompson's Mrs.? He's got a bigger claim to fame in her than he did with that L&0 gig.

Anderson Cooper did a special about prez candidate spouses, and there was quite a lot of debate, not to mention leering, over Fred's wife.

David Terrenoire said...


For sheer babe-itude, no one, not evenly the bounteously endowed Mrs. Thompson, comes close to Mrs. Dennis Kucinich.

Beautiful and smart, too. A killer combination.

Rae said...

"So fear not. The mockery will continue."

Thank all the gods and little fishes....


Peter said...

I was all ready to tell you I enjoyed this post, but then I remembered that, damn, it's just not an argumentative essay.
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